Destination weddings are becoming a popular choice for couples who want an intimate, exotic wedding. From Hawaii and Mexico, to Bali and Thailand, there’s a locale to suit every taste. And since the Caribbean islands are favored honeymoon spots, it’s no surprise the Bahamas cater to couples for the big day and after with wedding and honeymoon packages. So if you’re looking for a hotel that will make the celebrations easy, and put you in the perfect spot for a honeymoon, you’ve come to the right place. Here are the best hotels for destination weddings in the Bahamas.
This is called One&Only for good reason -- there’s nothing quite like it on Paradise Island, or anywhere in the Bahamas for that matter. The 106 rooms and suites, split into two sections, are luxurious, though those in the newer Crescent Wing are a bit more modern and stylish. Expansive manicured grounds have two outdoor pools, a romantic garden and statuary modeled after Versailles (a dream for weddings), and the endless stretch of white-sand beach and turquoise waves. Health and wellness nuts are spoilt for choice with daily yoga, an 18-hole golf course, tennis courts, an indoor/outdoor fitness center, and a Balinese-style spa with private villas. After a day in the sun, guests return to the room to find champagne and strawberries waiting, and many choose to begin their evening with sunset drinks at Jean-George's Dune restaurant.
Far, far removed from the crowds of Nassau is this 40-acre boutique resort on Eleuthera Island. This property, which opened in 2013, is a hot spot for celebs seeking privacy, and features a jaw-dropping infinity pool and cliffside bar sitting between two man-made, pink-sand beaches. Chic, airy rooms have white decor, and enormous villas with private plunge pools and state-of-the-art kitchens are on offer. Non-villa guests without kitchens should plan on eating at the sophisticated restaurant often, since nearby options are limited. Luckily, the menu changes daily based on produce from the garden and the sushi chef spears his own fish. The hotel has wedding packages available.
With 25 freestanding cottages along a 20-acre bird sanctuary, this hilly resort is one of just a handful of hotels on Harbour Island. Understated sophistication is the vibe here; the grounds are peaceful (except for the roaming roosters), and most guests seem happy to spend their days simply soaking up the sun at Pink Sands Beach -- a beautiful and unspoiled three-mile stretch of sand from which the resort takes its name. Ocean view cottages offer outstanding panoramas from the patios and private walking paths to the beach, but cost almost twice as much as garden view cottages. Room decor mixes modern and tradition, with sleek wooden bed frames, romantic open-style showers, and screened-in windows that allow breezes to float in from all sides (air-conditioning is also available). There's great dining on-site, but guests can take a golf cart to other parts of this charming island for more restaurant choices. Wedding packages are available.
Located on the beautiful and natural island of Great Exuma, Grand Isle Resort & Spa is a scenic upscale property with a gorgeous infinity pool, secluded stretch of beach, large golf course, on-site spa, and pool-side restaurant. All 79 villas are spacious and outfitted with high-end contemporary furnishings, fully-equipped kitchens, washer/dryers, flat-screen TVs, soaking tubs and separate walk-in showers, and private patios or balconies. Grand Isle offers customized wedding, honeymoon, family reunion, and anniversary packages.
This 600-suite tower opened in 2007 and displaced Royal Towers as the best, and therefore most expensive, address at Atlantis. Chic open-air surroundings, oceanfront suites, and an air of exclusivity attracts families and couples who prefer to be slightly removed from the thickest crowds. Modern, sophisticated suites (many with views) have modern technology, balconies, and extra large bathrooms. The property shares a separate beach and large family pool with neighboring Reef Tower, but only Cove guests have access to the party pool called Cain at the Cove -- for adults only -- with private cabanas, outdoor gambling, and a live DJ.
Located in the heart of Nassau, the Graycliff Hotel is a colonial mansion with a historic past. The upscale property has loads of character and charm -- a beautiful facade with a two-story veranda, frequent live jazz music in the lounge, and a chocolatier, cigar factory, and museum on-site. Two pools (one with stunning hand-painted tiles), three restaurants (including the five-star Graycliff Restaurant), and a world-class wine cellar round out the offerings. The 20 spacious rooms are stuffed with antiques but still include modern amenities like flat-screen TVs, minibars, and Wi-Fi. However, some rooms can be noisy at night, the Wi-Fi is spotty, and the hotel is not on the beach. The hotel can host weddings and events for up to 300 people in one of the restaurants, by the pool, or by the cigar factory.
Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort & Villas is a 41-room property located on Long Island. A short flight from Nassau, the middle-upper-range resort is peaceful and scenic with a show-stopping beach -- it’s one of the most pristine, calm, and scenic stretches of sand in the Bahamas. Cape Santa Maria offers two tiers of accommodations: Bungalows are homey but basic and have private verandas; they're a great option for those on a budget. Villas are huge and have added luxuries: full kitchens, washer/dryers, and more upscale furnishings. Note that there is no pool, and the bungalows don’t have TVs or Wi-Fi. While bungalows are nothing fancy, the rates are a good value and give budget guests access to this stunning beach.
The mid-range Small Hope Bay Lodge is an informal, natural, all-inclusive property located on Andros Island, a short flight from Nassau. Guests looking to get lost in the secluded, quiet, rugged nature of the property can be found lounging in hammocks, Adirondack chairs, or on one of two beaches. There's also a large variety of excursions, including diving, fishing, snorkeling, and nature walks, that keep guests active and occupied. The 21 cabins are rustic, a little worn, and lack Wi-Fi or TVs, but they all have porches facing the ocean. There's a friendly and communal atmosphere as guests gather together to share meals in the restaurant, sip drinks at the bar, or linger by the outdoor grill. Small Hope has one of the best rates on the island given its features. Small Hope Bay offers multiple wedding packages that can include flowers, photos and DVDs, wedding cake, hors d’oeuvres and Champagne reception, or even a seven-night stay in a honeymoon cabin.
The small, intimate, budget Pigeon Cay Beach Club is located on beautiful and secluded Cat Island. With only seven beachfront cottages, the atmosphere is friendly and laid-back but also private. The simple, rustic cottages have dated decor and no TVs or Internet, but they include fully-equipped kitchens and furnished outdoor spaces. The beach is the best part of Pigeon Cay -- it’s quiet, secluded, and gorgeous with turquoise blue water and powdery white sand. This isn't an updated or lavish property, but the very affordable rates make Pigeon Cay a good choice for those looking to get lost in Cat Island's natural beauty. Pigeon Cay can accommodate weddings up to 40 people and can arrange a full range of services including the marriage license, officiant, flowers, photographer, dinner, wedding cake, transportation, and music.